Challenge #01206-C111: Funny in Context

Someone could have been seriously hurt... But they weren't, so it's funny -- Anon Guest

Rael had could not recall, exactly, why they were in locks and docks. The gravity there was less than reliable in most places, and Shayde was one who seemed to use it to her advantage without any effort whatsoever. Rael had significantly more faith in the safety tether than his own ability to "hang on in time".

Almost all of the humans who worked there for extended periods of time had found that the safety tether was an impediment rather than a feature towards their expedient work. This from members of a species who had coined the phrase, "Better safe than sorry."

But then again, this was the same species that regularly climbed mountains hazardous to their health, too high to recover bodies from, so successive climbers use the bodies of the dead as landmarks on their own way to the summit. All this, they did for the right to brag about it.

He could never watch the dockers at work without wondering how they made it through the day alive, let alone unscathed.

It looked like poetry in motion mixed with Parkour and a heavy helping of suicidal intent. With a dash of last-instant changes of heart and seemingly miraculous self-rescues.

One trainee - Rael could tell because of the rebounding padding on their torso and arms, missed their next catch and hurtled into the larger stream of huge containers heading station-up and station-down in four regular streams.

Rael stopped his slow and careful progress along the public access-way to watch in horror as the teenager ricocheted between freight containers like a pinball. Only with less musical ringing and more solid and unnerving thuds. The kid did have all his safety gear on, save the tether, but the rapid bouncing had to be disorienting.

An elderly docker, possibly the kid's grandmother, dove into the streams from five stories above and bounced their way down to intercept the teenage trainee mid-bounce, and then exit a mere three stories below. She used the low gravity to bounce back up to the level Rael was on and then set them both in a pool of higher gravity.

There was no blood. Just a pattern of blooming bruises on their exposed skin. And a rising blush.

It was at this point that Shayde burst out laughing. And so did most of the humans who had watched the events. There was even some scattered applause. The trainee, now blushing from head to foot and pressing ice to their bruises, clumsily bowed to their audience.

"Why?" said Rael. "That could have been a disaster."

"Aye, it wasn't. So it's funny."


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